Regulatory Reform

Electronic Data Privacy in California – ALEC Member Helps Lead the Way

The privacy of electronically stored and transmitted data is important in today’s technological world. Many privacy advocates have argued for stronger civil liberty protections, and in California—the hub of technology—they largely succeeded.

Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act into law earlier this month (CalECPA). The Act, SB 178, was authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and ALEC member Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine).

CalECPA requires law enforcement officials to obtain warrants before accessing emails, text messages, geolocation information, and other electronically stored information.

Senator Anderson stated that CalECPA “protects Californians’ basic civil liberties as the Fourth Amendment and the California Constitution intended.”

Similarly, Senator Leno stated that CalECPA “…updates California law for the modern digital age, protecting fundamental rights to privacy while creating clear rules so law enforcement can continue to efficiently do its job… [It] is a well-crafted solution to a growing problem. While technology has advanced exponentially, California’s communications laws are stuck in the dark ages, leaving our personal emails, text messages, photos and smartphones increasingly vulnerable to warrantless searches.”

CalECPA is very similar to the ALEC model Electronic Data Privacy Protection Act, which the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and the California News Publishers Association supported. The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act enjoyed additional support from a broad base of other non-profit organizations, including the Center for Democracy & Technology, TechFreedom, California Public Defenders Association, and Color of Change.

In Depth: Regulatory Reform

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said that “the sum of good government” was one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry.” Sadly, governments – both federal and state – have ignored this axiom and…

+ Regulatory Reform In Depth